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Local volunteers helping with Mohawk Valley flood relief efforts

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A local American Red Cross of Northern New York staff member and a volunteer have spent the past week in the Mohawk Valley helping flood victims recover from the June 28 and 29 storms that left many households and businesses inundated with water.

Chapter Executive Jane G. Gendron said local Emergency Services Manager Kelly E. Hecker has been operating shelters in Herkimer and Oneida, while Potsdam resident Timothy J. Schwob has been helping throughout the flooded region.

“Many people don’t want to leave their homes, so the Red Cross figured we need to go out in communities to see what people need,” Mrs. Gendron said. “We want to get stuff out to folks immediately.”

Attempts Friday to reach Ms. Hecker were unsuccessful.

The Watertown-based chapter sent down cleaning kits — consisting of bleach, gloves, buckets, trash bags and other cleaning supplies — to the Mohawk Valley. As of Friday, Mrs. Gendron said, a total 1,600 cleaning kits have been distributed to households, and over 15,000 meals and snacks have been served. Three shelters have hosted about 300 people.

Mrs. Gendron said she received a report Wednesday notifying her that volunteers are needed in the area for at least another week. After that, the effort will be turned over to the American Red Cross of the Mohawk Valley, that area’s chapter, to continue the cleanup.

Mrs. Gendron herself will arrive in the area Monday to tour the disaster relief effort’s headquarters.

The cost of Red Cross’s relief initiative could total upwards of $1 million, Mrs. Gendron said.

“This is a major operation in our region, and we are hoping people will support the regional effort,” she said. “It can happen anywhere. Who knew the first week of July we’d have this flooding in Central New York? We just finished our (local) disaster campaign, and here we are with a disaster in our backyard.”

She said people may help out by dropping off cash or a check designated for this specific effort to the Red Cross, 203 N. Hamilton St. Donations also may be made online by following the prompts for contributing locally at www.redcross.org.

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